In the hinterland of Aegina, south of Pachia Rachi, at the foot of mountain Oros, the island’s highest mountain (586m), a plateau lies hidden amidst the surrounding hills. In this breathtaking and unexpected landscape, there is nothing reminiscent of modern civilization. No signs of human intervention apart from a few small countryside churches dedicated to Aghia Kyriaki (Saint Kyriaki), Aghia Triada (Holy Trinity) and Aghios Georgios (Saint George).
This expanse of land resembles a lunar landscape. Wild vegetation, low rising shrubs, milk thistle and thyme grow here. I had the impression of standing before the orchestra of an ancient Greek theatre with the tall surrounding mountains as spectators that have taken their seat on the theatron and the impressive centenarian olive trees starring in the chorus through their graceful movement and dramatic form.
Those who know the Valley of Eleonas (eleonas stands for olive groove in Greek), few locals and even fewer visitors, claim that these olive trees date from ancient times. Unfortunately, this is not confirmed by the Ιnstitute of Materials Science and the Laboratory of Archaeometry of the National Centre for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS”, according to which these olive trees are four hundred years old.
I couldn’t resist the temptation so I measured the perimeter of an olive tree that was more than seven meters wide. I stood there, marveled at the beauty of these trees; having been recently pruned, my gaze focused on their trunks that resembled sculptures of moving dancers. In the past, the Valley of Eleonas could be reached from an earth road that followed the course of the stream carrying the valley’s rainwater to the sea. Currently, this path is stonier than ever and the only way to get to the valley is through a mountainous settlement uphill Marathonas coast provided you are guided by someone how really knows this region by heart.